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National- and State-Level Estimates of WIC Eligibility and WIC Program Reach in 2018 With Updated Estimates for 2016 and 2017

Resource type
Research Reports
Research type
Participation Characteristics
Participation Rates
Program Access
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Summary (405.89 KB)

This report, the latest in a series of annual reports on WIC eligibility, presents 2018 national and state estimates of the number of people eligible for WIC benefits and the percents of the eligible population and the US population covered by the program, including estimates by participant category.

The report also provides estimates by region, state, U.S. territory, and race and ethnicity.

Key Findings

  • The average monthly WIC-eligible population totaled 11.9 million in 2018, a decrease from the revised estimate of 12.9 million in 2016.
  • In the average month of 2018, WIC served an estimated 56.9 percent of those eligible for WIC, a decrease from the revised estimate for 2016 (58.9 percent).
  • Consistent with the results from the past decade, the coverage rates for WIC-eligible infants and non-breastfeeding postpartum women were highest among WIC participant subgroups in 2018, while the coverage rate for WIC-eligible children continued to lag behind other groups.
  • Coverage rates were highest for Hispanic (63 percent) and non-Hispanic Black and races other than White (59 percent) WIC-eligible individuals, and lowest for non-Hispanic White WIC-eligible individuals (49 percent).
Page updated: July 12, 2024